Great Falls Tribune: 'Honor of a lifetime': Tester to serve as chairman of Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee

Sen. Jon Tester will serve in the new Congress as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which he said is an “honor of a lifetime.”

Tester’s first hearing is Wednesday on the pending nomination of Denis McDonough to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Tester will work in partnership with Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who will serve as Ranking Member.

As chairman, Tester will set the committee’s agenda for business.

Tester said he is grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the bipartisan partnership Senator Moran and I have built, and am ready to roll up my sleeves along with our committee members and veterans advocates to hold the VA accountable, cut red tape, and provide quality care and benefits to those who’ve sacrificed on behalf of our freedoms. Taking care of our veterans is a continuing cost of war, and I’m prepared to get to work in this new role to ensure Congress follows through on this sacred duty,” he said in a statement.

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Tester has been a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2007 and has worked with various organizations to expand benefits and care for veterans, including those exposed to Agent Orange and women service members.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., addresses a crowd that includes dozens of veterans during an announcement in Billings that a planned $2 billion Navy submarine will be named the USS Montana.
Montana National Veterans of Foreign Wars Representative Tom Johnson said “it’s a great day for Montana’s veterans.”

“It will be not only be an honor, but very much a pleasure to work with Senator Jon Tester, who has not only earned the respect of his Congressional peers, but also with us Montana folk, to be placed in such an esteemed position,” he said.

Department Adjutant of the American Legion Department of Montana Gary White said “Senator Tester assuming the Chairmanship will be a great benefit to the veterans of Montana and our nation.”